In 2013, TransPoC, Inc. (Translational Proof of Concept) was formed to solve a serious problem: the diminishing number of new drug therapies resulting from oncology research. This problem has become more challenging given the overwhelming volume of genomic data available since the completion of the Human Genome Project in 2003.
Years ago I was asked to enroll my daughter in medical research. As I recall, the University of Buffalo physician approached me shortly before my child was to undergo a procedure. They were hoping to take a few additional tissue samples that wouldn’t lengthen the procedure nor harm my daughter. I said no to this request.
Competition in the pharmaceutical industry isn’t just about which manufacturer discovers the next blockbuster pill. National governments and entire geographical regions compete fiercely to attract pharma companies and the billions of dollars that come with their high-value investments. The United Kingdom is the latest country to try and step up its game.
The chairman of Bristol-Myers summoned the head of R&D into his office. “Bill, go down and check out the ruckus on the street,” he said. “Something about our new AIDS drug.” When Dr. William Comer exited the front door of the company’s New York City headquarters, he saw a small group of men marching around on the sidewalk, holding signs, blowing trumpets, beating drums, and chanting loudly.
In 2001, members of a small biotech from the New York City area traveled to the state capital, Albany, to discuss accessing the state’s new Biotechnology Industry Growth Fund. An economic development official responsible for a portion of that fund met with them but came away skeptical.
As the landscape of the biopharmaceutical industry expands into growing regions, an exciting transformation is beginning to transfer commercialization “recipes” to emerging markets. All eyes are on small, specialty, and midsize players emerging at the forefront of innovation in the mature regions of Europe and the United States.
Does your company develop new medical products, pharmaceuticals, or innovative production techniques in the United States?
The German proverb, “Wer rastet, der rostet,” loosely translates to, “He who rests grows rusty.” This saying occurs to me as I sit across from Grünenthal’s chief scientific officer, Klaus Langner, Ph.D. We are at the Omni hotel in San Francisco, and it is very late. However, since we are in town for the 33rd Annual J.P. Morgan (JPM) Healthcare conference, each of us knows this is far from our last meeting of the day.
Faced with diminishing returns on R&D investments, large pharmaceutical companies are searching for innovative ways to successfully identify, develop, and market products with financial viability. Yet small discovery companies and biotechs continue to outpace large pharma in the approval of NMEs (new molecular entities).
Neoantigenics is a biotechnology company that was based on unique IP that was discovered at the University of Virginia (UVA). John Herr, Ph.D., chief scientific officer, is the principal investigator and a tenured professor in the Departments of Cell Biology and Biomedical Engineering at UVA.